The draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 was made on Monday in Nyon, Switzerland and there were contrasting fortunes for the three remaining Premier League sides.
[ MORE: Full UCL last 16 draw ]
It was “yes” for Manchester City. “Meh” for Leicester City. “Not again” for Arsenal.
Below is a look at each UCL encounter set up for the two-legged last 16 ties, as we select the eight teams who will advance to the quarterfinals.
Predicting the winners of the UCL Round of 16
Man City to beat Monaco
Despite their struggles in the PL, City will have too much going forward for Monaco and even an in-form Radamel Falcao shouldn’t be too much of a problem. With the first game at the Etihad, expect the tie to be done and dusted by the halfway point. Man City will easily advance as long as Claudio Bravo and John Stones don’t slip up in defense.
Sevilla to beat Leicester City
Not exactly the glamour tie some Leicester fans were expecting but the Foxes have a very tough task. Sevilla have won the UEFA Europa League in three of the last four seasons and their pedigree and experience in knockout competitions is undoubted. The Foxes have to keep things tight in Andalusia and hope they can take an away goal back to the King Power Stadium. Leicester can hit teams on the break and in Europe that’s been very successful so far. That said, Sevilla is a big step up on Club Brugge and Copenhagen.
Bayern Munich to beat Arsenal
Ah, these two again. In four of the past five UCL seasons Arsenal and Bayern have been paired together and it hasn’t ended well for the Gunners. Despite their defensive improvements, I don’t think it will again. True, Bayern isn’t firing on all cylinders under Carlo Ancelotti but with Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robbern, Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery, they’re capable of blowing past anyone.
Barcelona to beat Paris Saint-Germain
PSG is struggling without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and others and Unai Emery is also struggling to convince the PSG fans he can do what the Parisian club hired him to do: win the UCL. Barcelona has shown some weaknesses in the UCL this season, especially in their defeat at Manchester City, but with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, you have to expect them to advance against a PSG side which is in somewhat of a transitional phase.
Real Madrid to beat Napoli
The reigning champs will like this draw. A lot. Zinedine Zidane’s boys may have finished second behind Borussia Dortmund in group play but they are on a roll and are currently 35 games unbeaten. You have to fancy Cristiano Ronaldo ripping Napoli’s defense apart at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg.
Atletico Madrid to beat Bayer Leverkusen
A tricky one for Atletico, especially as Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco have yet to really get going this season. That said Bayer looked solid but wasteful in attack in the group stages and against a stubborn Diego Simeone defense, the Bundesliga side will not get many chances. Expect Atleti to edge it.
Borussia Dortmund to beat Benfica
While the whole of the U.S. soccer community is on Christian Pulisic watch every time Dortmund play, the whole of Europe is admiring BVB’s fine attacking play. Aubameyang, Dembele, Reus, Gotze and others are excelling, with the German side scoring 21 goals in their six group stage games. Expect plenty of goals and for Dortmund to advance.
Juventus to beat FC Porto
This is a pretty poor Porto side, despite them ripping apart a second-string Leicester in the final group game. Juventus eased through, in the end, to the last 16.